Corbin, Kentucky
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Corbin, KY 40701
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Understanding the Function of 3 Key Septic System Components December 6, 2018

Corbin, Knox
Understanding the Function of 3 Key Septic System Components, Corbin, Kentucky

Because septic systems are often buried underground, many homeowners are unaware of how the components function. Knowing what each part plays in household waste treatment will leave you prepared to address equipment needs and identify problems as soon as they arise. Below is a breakdown of the primary role of three different parts. 

3 Critical Septic System Components & How Each Works 

1. Septic Tank

Waste flows down drains into a storage container known as a septic tank. The vessel holds the discarded material long enough for it to separate into three layers. The scum layer sits at the top of the tank and contains oil and grease. Wastewater, or effluent, settles in the middle, while heavier particles drop to the bottom to form the sludge layer.

Although wastewater eventually leaves the tank for further treatment, the sludge remains behind. Over time, the buildup could cause the tank to overflow, sending waste back through the drains and into the house. The liquid could also seep through the ground and settle in the yard. Scheduling routine inspections and septic pumping every three to five years will prevent this from happening.  

2. Distribution Box

Corbin-Kentucky-septic-systemsWhen effluent is ready to leave the holding tank, it flows to the distribution box via an effluent line. From there, the liquid is re-distributed to the leach field through a series of absorption pipes. Distribution box leaks are a common problem that should be addressed immediately.

If groundwater leaks into the container, it could flood the leach field. During a septic maintenance check, a technician can identify the source of the problem. Often, readjusting the lid could put an end to leaks. If the cover won’t stay in place, professionals can put a compressible rubber gasket between the lid and box edges to secure it.    

3. Leach Field

The leach, or drain, field is comprised of a series of perforated pipes that receive effluent from the distribution box. The pipes are buried in trenches filled with gravel. Effluent is slowly released and filtered through the gravel before it’s absorbed into the earth.

Clogs in the pipes could be an issue, which could cause backups in the entire septic system. Often, the blockages happen when wastewater is filled with large particles. Avoid putting non-biodegradable items down drains to prevent this. Invasive roots could also puncture the pipes and cause flooding in the yard, so be mindful of where you plant vegetation.


To ensure your septic system functions correctly, contact the technicians at Dugger's Septic Tank Cleaning. Since 1962, residential and commercial clients have turned to the Corbin, KY-based team for septic cleaning and pumping, new leach field lines, and additional solutions to prevent performance problems. To schedule a service appointment in the Tri-State area, call (606) 528-3893. Visit the pumping service specialists online for a complete list of ways they’ll care for your equipment. 

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